(VIDEO) German Chancellor Angela Merkel concluded her visit to Israel with a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum on Monday.
Merkel signed the Museum’s guestbook in which she wrote: He who does not know his past has no future.
“We are full of shame for what happened. I am sorry that only few righteous people were in Germany at that time," she said.
Forty years of diplomatic relations are very important for the German government and people,” Merkel said.
A congregation of Holocaust survivors and their families welcomed Merkel and senior German officials who were accompanied by Avner Shalev, Yad Vashem’s director and Israel Singer, the chairman of the World Jewish Congress.
Dozens of photographers and camera crews were blocked from entering the Museum to cover the visit.
Merkel said she did not want the media presence to distract her during the visit.
'Relations with Israel will always be special'
Yad Vashem officials were sufficiently appreciative of the visit to describe it as “exceptional” and incomparable to any other visit by a head of state.
Merkel, who landed in Ben Gurion-Airport at around 6 p.m. on Sunday, said she's excited to be visiting Israel.
"This visit is very important for me," she said upon her arrival.
“Relations with Israel will always be special because of the Holocaust,” Merkel said in joint press conference with Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The acting PM welcomed Merkel to Israel and said he was particularly pleased she chose to visit Israel before other countries. He noted the two countries are marking 40 years for the establishment of diplomatic ties and stressed the deep commitment to continue nurturing the relationship.